Reducing obesity in youth begins with healthy conversations, inspirational stories and engaging in hands-on games that open minds and hearts.
The ideas may be simple, yet our excuses, pains and fears often make us stumble. Simple ideas for reducing obesity in youth:
1. Get them involved in picking colorful and fresh foods.
2. Bring them into the kitchen to cook and design recipes.
3. Pack healthy fruit or veggie snacks instead of chips or candy.
4. Give high-fives or stickers instead of candy rewards.
5. Get outside to walk around the block, play with pets or do sports.
6. Take breaks from the computer by getting up and walking around.
With 350 students at the Boys and Girls Club, Kirsten began by sharing a story about her childhood. She was a very busy child playing sports and participating in music, yet she never really thought about how she was eating and why her food choices would benefit a long life.
Kirsten often forgot to eat on her own and then craved sugars or warm drinks. Food provided comfort for her and made her feel good even though it was short lived. So often she would think about just having a bite of candy to eating the whole chocolate bar. She was ashamed by her self control and realized that many others had the same challenges as she did.
After college her weight began to grow on her. And once she got pregnant, she dealt with Gestational Diabetes. It is a disease where your insulin doesn’t work correctly and carbohydrates turn to sugar. Without insulin and carefully watching food intake, mothers and babies can have adversities. She was determined to learn about healthier foods and figure out easier systems to ensure her baby girl was healthy. And, it was in that moment that she decided to help children learn at an earlier age about healthy food choices.
After presenting the concept of Healthy and Fun Choices® books and programs at the Oregon Dental Convention in 2010, Jodi Looper of the Boys & Girls Club in Salem asked Kirsten to come and speak and engage children at their club.
The program had a lasting impression. All kids had fun doing silly team-building games, while improving their thoughts around making healthy and fun choices. Now they understood why the word “fun” was integrated into making healthy choices. And they were challenged to take home the ideas from the workshop into their home, school and club.
One hispanic boy who had been struggling with weight had an “aha” moment during the workshop and realized that he didn’t have to drink soda throughout the day. He made a decision to choose water and get his family to do the same. In one month his weight reduced and his family was feeling healthier as well. In fact, the savings from not purchasing soda pop in one month, allowed his family to take their first beach trip and enjoy the Oregon coast!!
Kirsten Klug was invited back to the Boys & Girls Club to do a multiple hands-on workshops and give out activity coloring sheets at their Health Fair. If you would like to sponsor this program or bring it into your school or organization, please get in touch with us.